When land could not be inherited: Remembering and making kinship and property in urban Turkey
(Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and University of Pardubice)
Paper short abstract:
Due to out-migration from a Turkish town and new urban occupations, an ancestral land could not be inherited for 80 years and was partly used by various actors. The paper looks at how it has recently become a subject of legal and moral disputes within the kin group, who now needs to re-make itself.
Paper long abstract:
Turkey has been rapidly urbanising during the last century and this has had repercussions on property and inheritance management. Villagers have been moving to cities and towns people have been moving to larger urban metropoles for education, jobs and modern livelihoods. This paper looks at a specific landed property which could not be inherited during the last 80 years in a small town in southwest Turkey and how this property has been dealt with and contested among the three generations of a kin group. Due to outmigration from the town and the emergence of new urban occupations, the land remained partly bracken and was used partly by various actors, not all from the kin group. It has, however, recently become a subject of legal and moral disputes among the kin, who now needs to rediscover and re-make itself. The paper will explore how memory but also face-to-face sociality could play a role in re-writing the history of property and ownership. Furthermore how different moralities challenge the different structural constraints such as the presence/absence from the locality, the existence of written documents and having/lacking local allies will be examined. Gender, migration experience, social skills but also the changing legal regulations of inheritance are all significant in the negotiations on making property (as ancestral land or commodity) and kin (a moral kin group or kin as individuals). This auto-ethnographic research will also reflect on the relevance of anthropological knowledge in understanding the making and un-making of property and kinship.
Passing on: the materialisation of kinship